Textbook notes for PSYB30 - 30 pages of solid notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Marc A Fournier

Chapter 1Studying the Person Personality psychology is the scientific study of the whole person The ultimate goal of personality psychology is to construct a scientifically credible account of psychological individuality Personality psychologists often study individual differences in people What Do We Know When We Know A PersonSketching an Outline Dispositional Traits Personality traits are those general internal and comparative dispositions that we attribute to people in our initial efforts to sort individuals into meaningful behavioural categories and to account for consistencies that we perceive or expect in behaviour from one situation to the next and over time Most common procedure for quantifying individual differences in dispositional traits is by using selfreport questionnaires The Big Five trait categories are Openness to experience conscientiousness extraversion agreeableness and neuroticismFilling in the Details Characteristic Adaptations Trait attributions are useful because they tell us about trends in behaviour over time and across different situations settings and contexts Characteristic adaptations are contextualized facets of psychological individuality that speak to motivational cognitive and developmental concerns in personalityTheories of human motivation which essentially speak to the question of what people fundamentally want or desire in life Theories of cognition and personality underscore the role of cognitive factorsvalues beliefs expectancies schemas plans personal constructs cognitive stylesin human individuality Developmental theories focus on the evolution of the self and its relationships with others from birth to old ageConstructing a Story Integrative life narrativesIdentity is the problem of unity and purpose in life a problemor better a challengethat many persona especially those living in modern societies first encounter as they move from adolescence into young adulthood Beyond traits and adaptations many people seek an integrative framework The third level or personality is the level of identity as a life story and life story is an internalized and evolving narrative of the self that integrates the reconstructed past perceived present and anticipated future in order to provide a life with a sense of unity and prupose Science and the Person Science generally proceeds according to three steps 1 unsystematic observations 2 building theories and 3 evaluation propositionsStep 1 Unsystematic ObservationUnsystematic observation is not a passive and casual sort of thing but rather an active attempt to discern and then describe organization pattern design or structure in a phenomenon that initially seems to be unorganized and without design Context of discoveryseeks to discover new ways of seeing reality formulating in a highly subjective manner new categories new terminologies and new distinctions to describe the careful observations that he or she undertakes The concrete and particular event that are discerned moves to more abstract and general representations of those events a event called induction The ultimate result of induction is the creation of the abstract and general theory of step 2 which is ultimately grounded in the subjective observations of Step 1A case study is an indepth investigation of a single individual sometimes conducted over a substantial period of timeStep 2 Building Theories The second step of the scientific enterprise involves making a theory Scientists organize the various observations collected in Step 1 into a moreorless coherent system that explains the phenomenon of interestA theory is a set of interrelated statements proposed to explain certain observations of reality A theory is always a tentative and somewhat speculative abstraction A theory is generally accepted by a scientific community to the extent that it is consistent with observations of the phenomena it purports to explain Theories are subject to change whenever new inconsistent observations becomes availableBelow are four tools that the scientist can use to increase understanding 1 An abstract MODEL or picture that serves as an easily envisioned representation for the structure of the theory 2 A conceptual TERMINOLOGY or set of names for key ideas and major classes of observations in the theory 3 A set of CORRESPONDENCE RULES that describe the specific relationships to be expected between the various components 4 HYPOTHESES or testable predictions that are logically derived from the correspondence rulesStep 3 Evaluating PropositionsIn step 3 the theories that step 2 derived from the observations of step 1 must be empirically tested as scientist moves from the context of discovery to the content of justification The scientist attempts to evaluate or justify the truth of a given statement proposed by a given theorySetting up an empirical study Scientific hypotheses should be grounded in theoriesGo back and review what the theory suggests Review the empirical literature found in journals regarding similar constructs as is in the theory Next choose an appropriate sample of persons to
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